Lawyers, man: even when a company is dead and gone, they’ll still defrib it one more time in order to squeeze out another lawsuit. Six months prior to THQ declaring bankruptcy, the publisher transferred the UFC license to rival publisher Electronic Arts. That deal set EA back $10 million. As a result, we now have EA Sports UFC (above) heading to next-gen consoles around March to April next year.
Now, however, there’s a problem because THQ is claiming that EA and Zuffa (the parent company of the Ultimate Fighting Championship) colluded to bring about the transfer. It does sound a little like sour grapes, but THQ has some pretty hefty allegations levelled at EA and Zuffa.
According to THQ’s court documents, the publisher began looking for outside buyers for the UFC license as far back as 2011. By that stage it was clear to THQ that some tumultuous financial waters were ahead. One such company that began negotiations for the UFC license was EA. During negotiations, THQ divulged internal sales figures and data on the UFC franchise. Negotiations between the two publishers ended shortly after that, but soon after negotiations ended, Zuffa approached THQ saying they wished to terminate their license agreement. The reason for Zuffa wanting to terminate the agreement was because of THQ’s financial troubles, which THQ alleges Zuffa couldn’t have known unless EA had divulged the financial information to Zuffa.
THQ’s court documents read as follows: “Prior to the Demand Letter [that Zuffa sent to THQ requesting termination of the UFC license], EA contacted Zuffa, informed Zuffa of THQ’s perilous financial condition and expressed interest in acquiring the UFC franchise directly from Zuffa, causing Zuffa to threaten termination of the UFC license.”
Obviously EA is saying that the allegations are baseless, but THQ is maintaining that the license transfer was fraudulent and is going ahead with litigation. THQ wants the license transfer to be voided and the UFC IP returned to them – that or they want money to the value of the IP, which is supposedly around the $20 million mark. On top of that they want an additional $10 million in damages.